...Or At Least A Long & Healthy Martial Arts Career
Heck, I still have a full head of hair in its proper place and the ability to touch my toes with ease.
Consider this simply a personal essay, a glimpse into my perspective on training for longevity. Whether you are young or already quite advanced in your years, you are likely reading this article because you love your craft, your martial art.
I've met martial artists who stepped away from teaching because they were discouraged by their aged body's inability to do what it once could. Thankfully, I've also met older martial artists who were capable of leaping into the air and landing with healthy joints, easily outperforming skills that athletic twenty year olds often still struggle with.
Even if you are currently injured or living an extremely sedentary lifestyle, please remember this one phrase: "Even if you can't do everything, you can still do something."
Don't. Stop. Moving.
No matter what, you are still going to keep growing older. It's up to you to take control of the direction your life is moving towards and to keep fine tuning the parts of your health that can easily degrade.
The first step? Tailor your training for long-term success!
Timing Over Speed
Law of the Fist
"I'm sorry, teacher! My dog ate my homework!"
We all know that Rover wasn't actually that hungry for the extra fiber. Depending on how gullible your teacher was, your excuse might have worked once or twice. It's unlikely it worked the eighteenth time though.
Speed works in a similar way. It's an excuse. Mind you, it's a legitimate excuse that can work for awhile, however it won't save your booty forever.
Rather than only trying to move quicker or initiate an action sooner, strive to also understand the rhythm of a fight better and to insert your own movements in the appropriate place.
Your hits don't just need to be unseeable, they need to be unstoppable or unexpected. Time your movements to land as your opponent is in a vulnerable moment (for example, they are now committed to a movement and unable to adjust).
Speed is good to have, but timing is reliable to have.
Structure Over Strength
I'm sure you have heard all kinds of technical bits and pieces to improve how you move. Boxers learn how to relax their deltoids and activate their lats at the correct moment of a punch. Kung Fu practitioners learn to open up from the kua (roughly speaking, "the inguinal fold") when using a horse stance.
The purpose behind this is to maximize your capabilities. If you execute a movement with excessive tension, it may be easier to perform the movement in some ways, however you severely detract from its efficiency and effectiveness.
When these attributes go down, you are likely to try even harder, potentially compromising your personal safety and also health.
It is easy to rely on strength and vigor to get you through a situation. If you can outweigh the person and force him into a losing position due to a strength advantage, you can feel like an amazing champion. After all, you just showed him that you were superior (at least in some egotistical way)!
Problem is, strength eventually degrades. Even simply getting a bad night of rest will decrease your strength capabilities. If we are truly trying to train intelligently and with thought put into our future, we will want to also develop the more universal and long-lasting attributes. In this case, rather than solely working on strength, strive to also gain a better understanding of body structure.
Practice aligning your body in a manner that will help you accomplish your goals in the most efficient way possible. Rooting your stance down properly and maintaining the proper
tension/relaxation dynamic throughout your body will go a long way for you and your lasting career as a martial artist.
Making The Days Count
Biomedical News & Health Blog
Here's a tip for athletes and entrepreneurs: time is like a gas in a container, it will automatically adjust to its allotments. If you give yourself all day to take care of a task, it's very possible you will take all day to finish it.
Unfortunately, that's just how us humans work.
Dedicated time is a must if you are serious about investing in yourself. It isn't about how little you sleep, it is about how much you get done while awake.
Humans are more resilient than many at first think, however you still need to account for recovery. Many people who subscribe to the idea of hustling hard forget about the important aspect of recovery. Injuries from an ambitious athlete often stem from under recovering more often than from over training.
Strive to understand your art and the movement patterns you consistently train, then look for the gaps in your general fitness that may be overlooked. You are seeking to develop body symmetry, training pushing motions in addition to pulling motions. Be sure to exercise your left and right sides as well as the front and back of the body equally.
I'm sure that you have heard the saying that no two martial artists are the same. The same can be said for you if you were plucked from two different moments of your life. Who you are and how you move (be it by limitations or preferences) is different at twenty, thirty, and forty years old.
Accept where you are currently and understand what you truly desire to achieve. Once you have a grasp on these two personal markers, you can adapt your training to truly help you maximize your results for a lifetime.
"The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life." Muhammad Ali